Estate Planning

The Ever Expanding Definition of What Constitutes A Will

One of the most important legal documents an individual can ever execute is his or her Will. Until recent years, it was a formal writing prepared by a lawyer to insure that one’s assets were passed to his or her heirs. Yet over the past few decades, alternative planning methods have arisen. Moreover, New Jersey […]

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Get Rid of That Old Will!

In 1994, Helen M. Weste executed a Last Will. She was single and had no children. The Will made three charitable bequests, left her personal property to a niece, and left the remainder of her estate to be divided in differing percentages among a sister along with eight nieces and nephews. In 2002, Helen executed […]

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Powers of Attorney: Practical Tips for Executing, Using and Revoking

By Thomas D. Begley, III, Esq. Co-Authored by Brittany A. Verga, Esq. Although most people initially think that a Will is the cornerstone of estate planning, it is often asserted that the most important document is a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a document in which one individual vests authority in another […]

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Legal Authority For Gifting

As wealth accumulates in this country and our population continues to age, the propriety of lifetime giving has increased. Gifts can be made out of sheer benevolence, but are also important in minimizing death taxes and long term care costs. This blog will review some of the key concepts involved in lifetime giving. Gifts can […]

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The Perils of Joint Accounts

Joint Tenancy With a Right of Survivorship (JTWROS) is a manner by which many of us hold bank and other financial accounts with others.  It is a traditional method of account ownership that has many benefits.  It commonly reflects the unity between spouses.  It avoids probate when one party dies.  It can be used for […]

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Examining the Estate of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Examining the Estate of Philip Seymour Hoffman

On February 2, 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose at the age of 46.  He was an Academy Award winning actor who appeared in many productions on stage and screen.  He was survived by his life partner, Mimi O’Donnell, and their three children, Cooper (10), Tallulah (7) and Willa (5).  His estate […]

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How Much Does it Pay to Be Executor?

A commonly asked question in both estate planning and estate administration is “How much does the executor get paid?”  In order to evaluate that question, three issues need to be addressed: (1) the statutory allowance for compensation, (2) the options in drafting compensation clauses in a Will, and (3) the effect of case law of […]

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Have You Had The “Talk” With Your Family Members?

If you are a parent, you may be thinking of the “talk” you had with your children when they were pre-teens, but, that is not what I am referring to. This “talk” is with your family members about your “later in life” thoughts. Do your family members know your preferences about critical life support?  Funeral details?  […]

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The Types of Probate Administration

In the State of New Jersey, probate is handled by the Office of the Surrogate (also known as the Surrogate’s Court) established in each county. Unlike many states, the probate process is very simple. Filing requirements and appearances before probate judges are generally atypical. Notwithstanding, it is imperative to understand the probate process in New […]

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Effective Utilization Of Insurance And Retirement Accounts In Special Needs Planning

Estate planning for parents with disabled children is a very delicate and important proposition. During their lifetime, parents are able to provide emotional and financial support to their children. This support greatly enhances the needs-based government benefits, which are frequently utilized by the disabled, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. When parents pass […]

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